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Teen Center Adds New Programs and Peer Advocates

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Gabriella Gutierrez '22
28 October 2019

The Teen Center will be introducing a new array of activities for the 2019-20 school year. These include an art program, collaborations with other staff members, and youth advocates. They hope to encourage students and staff to come in, be creative, and check out what they have to offer.Students in the Teen Center; photo credit: Gabriella Gutierrez

Over the years, the Teen Center has helped students in many ways, both inside and outside of the classroom. They help tutor, counsel, build leadership skills, and maintain other strategies to help others achieve their best. The Teen Center provides a way for students to express themselves in a fun and healthy environment, surrounded by their peers.

The Teen Center is thrilled to launch their new art program, which will focus on unique ways to showcase the students' creativity and innovative talents. The Teen Center will also be revamping their methods in advocating for their program, such as having a group of youth ambassadors to speak on behalf of the staff. The Teen Center staff hopes peer representatives will more effectively reach students who can benefit from their services. Group counseling will also be added to the Teen Center this year with sessions beginning soon.

The Director of the Teen Center, Kelly Carmichael, has been a part of the program for years and has worked with youths for fifteen years. She began working urban areas before moving her work to the suburbs. "This was a different experience for me, but I love working with all youths and all settings," said Carmichael. The Teen Center is a way for her to help high school students and encourage them to grow to be successful.Teen Center advisors; photo credit:  Gabriella Guiterrez

Rose Gonzalez, a Youth Development Specialist, was inspired to begin working at the Teen Center, because she previously worked with elementary students and wanted to try working with adolescents.

Ashley Shaw, an Employment Specialist, felt the same way and came from School 5 in Paterson. She participated in workshops and afterschool programs there. She feels the changes between the different schools and age divisions. "[Lower grades focus more on] and getting the kids to be active," she said. "Meanwhile, here is more of a focus on personal topics."

Giselle Javier, a Mental Health Clinician, has always enjoyed social work and likes knowing she is able to help others. She was motivated to begin working at the Teen Center, because it provided another dynamic to her job. Javier loves when students are able to come in, build close bonds, and (most importantly) be themselves.

The staff members involved with the Teen Center are devoted to helping students and are willing to lend a hand to anyone with their experience in the social work field. 

The Teen Center is an uplifting and delightful program to be a part of. It is highly encouraged for students and staff members stop by their room and have a look around to see what is in store. The next time you need someone to talk to, advice for a situation or to express yourself, the Teen Center is right next to the cafeteria. Their door is always open.